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Glam Media Said to Pay $150 Million for Andreessen’s Ning

Glam Media Inc., a provider of Internet-advertising services targeting women, will pay about $150 million to acquire social-networking site Ning Inc., according to two people familiar with the transaction.

Glam agreed to purchase Ning and have co-founder Marc Andreessen join its board, the two companies said today. Glam will pay mostly in preferred stock, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the terms haven’t been made public.

With the acquisition, Glam will gain Ning’s software tools that let people build their own social networks for a monthly fee. Ning’s social software may be valuable to the thousands of bloggers and other online publishers who are part of Glam’s network, Glam Chief Executive Officer Samir Arora said in an interview.

“What we like about Ning is that it had a platform that included all of the features of a Facebook Inc. -- I like to call it a ‘Facebook in a box’ -- but was targeted at the professional publishers, social-network creators and brands,” Arora said. He declined to comment on terms of the deal.

Glam has relationships with more than 2,000 publishers, including female-focused blogs such as Hostess With the Mostess and StyleBakery, and shares the revenue from sales of ads on those sites.

Charging Customers

Founded in 2004, the same year as Facebook, Ning last year began charging all customers for its tools after failing to turn a profit by offering free tools and charging for extras. Gina Bianchini, Ning’s co-founder and first CEO, resigned in March 2010, and 42 percent of the staff was fired the following month.

Ning’s 100 employees will all go to work for Glam, the companies said. Ning has raised a total of $120 million from investors including Andreessen.

Glam has recently held preliminary talks with bankers about a potential initial public offering, people with knowledge of the discussions said earlier this year.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Andreessen’s venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz.

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